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General Information

Official Name French Republic
Capital Paris
Area 549,183 Sq Km (212,041 Sq Mi)
Population 2003 60,180,529
Location France is located in West Europe and the territory includes the island of Corsica in the Mediterranean Sea as well as various other overseas departments and territories.
Geography Bound by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the north and northeast, Switzerland, Italy and Monaco to the east, the Mediterranean Sea to the southeast, Spain and Andorra to the south and the Atlantic Ocean to the west.
Density (1991) 104.7 persons per sq km (271.1 persons per sq mi)
Urban-Rural (1990) 74.3% urban
25.7% rural
Sex Distribution (1989) 48.7% male
51.3% female
Life Expectancy at Birth (2003) 75.63 years male
83.11 years female
Age Breakdown (2003) 18.6% under 15
65.1% 15 to 64
16.3% 65 and over
Birth Rate (2003) 12.54 per 1,000
Death Rate (2003) 9.05 per 1,000
Increase Rate (2003) 4.2 per 1,000
Infant Mortality Rate (2003) 4.37 per 1,000 live births

Sleep Habits

Sleep/wake schedule

The French population goes to sleep around 10:30PM and wakes up around 6:45 AM. They sleep on average 7 hours 24 minutes. These habits are changing with the living area:

  • People living in Paris (Ile-de-France) are going to sleep later than the other French people.
  • Those living in Bretagne and Basse-Normandie are going to sleep earlier than anywhere else in France and are waking up later.

Differences between men and women

  • Generally speaking, women went to bed about 12 minutes earlier than men and woke up later than men (p<0.001).
  • Women also took more time to fall asleep than men but only when they were aged between 35 and 65 Years.
  • Furthermore, women had a longer sleep than men except between the ages of 55 and 74, where men slept significantly more than women.
  • However, sleep efficiency was lower in women than in men who were over age 35. This was due to a greater frequency of nocturnal awakenings in women than in men.

Changes with age

  • Bedtime became progressively earlier with advancing age and wake-up time was later when the subjects reached retirement age.
  • Sleep latency progressively increased with age after 35.
  • Similarly, disrupted sleep increased with age and was reported by more than half of subjects 75 Years or older.

Changes with work schedule

  • Evening or night workers showed irregularities in their sleep patterns: sleep latency was significantly longer - at least 12 minutes - compared to daytime and shift workers (p<0.001).
  • They also had a shorter sleep duration of about 30 minutes compared to shift workers, and 40 minutes compared to daytime workers (p<0.001).
  • Shift workers and evening or night workers had a lower sleep efficiency compared to daytime workers.

Changes with geographical area

  • Finally, in regions with greater density population (>100000inhabi-tants) sleep duration was shorter by approximately 10 minutes compared to localities with fewer than 5 000 residents (p<0.01).
  • Similarly, bedtime and wake up hours were more related in regions with more than 100 000 inhabitants compared to small localities (fewer than 5 000 residents).

Naps

About one on eight individuals is regularly napping. People are more often napping in the Mediterranean area (Languedoc-Roussillon & Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur) and less frequently in Paris (Ile-de-France).

Insomnia

Several epidemiological surveys performed in Western Europe reported a prevalence of insomnia symptoms between 20% and 40% of the general population. Women and elderly individuals were the most affected.

Many events can occur during sleep and affect its quality. Daytime sleepiness, a consequence of lack of sleep and/or insomnia, is responsible for many road, work and domestic accidents. Therefore, insomnia may have important consequences both for individuals and society.

Aim

This study performed in the non institutionalized French population reports the sleep habits of that population and the factors associated with insomnia.

Method

5622 subjects representative of the French general population. They were aged between 15 and 96 Years. The participation rate was 80.8%.

Results

Insomnia complaints, defined as the presence of at least one insomnia symptom accompanied by sleep dissatisfaction or use of a sleep medication:

  • were reported by 18.6% of the sample.
  • The prevalence was higher in women (22.4%) than in men (14.5%) and increased with age.
  • The proportion of subjects dissatisfied with their sleep remained comparable for all age groups.
  • The number of subjects using a sleep medication increased with age: 3.2% in subjects 44 years or younger, 13.3% in subjects between 45 and 64 years, 22% of those between 65 and 74 years and almost a third of individuals 75 years or older (32%; p<0.001). However, insomnia symptoms remained present for most of these consumers: 80.4% of those between 15 and 44 years, 87.9% of those between 45 and 64 years, 81.4% of those between 65 and 74 years and 78.8% of subjects of 75 years or older.

Compared to subjects in other epidemiological studies undertaken in England, Germany and Italy and using the same methodology:

  • French subjects complained more often about their sleep.
  • The prevalence was higher in women (22.4%) than in men (14.5%) and increased with age.
  • The proportion of subjects dissatisfied with their sleep remained comparable for all age groups.

Conclusions

  • One on ten individuals has difficulty falling asleep
  • One on three individuals has a disrupted sleep
  • One on eight individuals wake up too early in the morning
  • One on ten individuals feels sleep is not refreshing

One individual on five complained about the quality or quantity of his or her sleep. This does not mean that all these individuals are insomniacs: only one on 20 individuals has a diagnosis of insomnia.

REFERENCES

  1. Ohayon MM, Lemoine P. [A connection between insomnia and psychiatric disorders in the French general population] Encephale; 2002;28(5 Pt 1):420-8.
  2. Ohayon MM, Caulet M, Lemoine P. Comorbidity of mental and insomnia disorders in the general population. Compr Psychiatry 1998;39:185-97
  3. Ohayon MM. Prevalence of DSM-IV diagnostic criteria of insomnia: distinguishing insomnia related to mental disorders from sleep disorders. J Psychiatr Res 1997; 31: 333-346.
  4. Ohayon MM, Morselli PL, Guilleminault C. Prevalence of nightmares and its relationship to psychopathology and daytime functioning in insomnia subjects. Sleep 1997; 20:340-8.
  5. Ohayon M, Caulet M, Lemoine P. [The elderly, sleep habits and use of psychotropic drugs by the French population] Encephale 1996;22:337-50.
  6. Ohayon MM, Caulet M. Psychotropic medication and insomnia complaints in two epidemiological studies. Can J Psychiatry 1996;41: 457-64.
  7. Ohayon M. Epidemiological study on insomnia in a general population. Sleep 1996;19: S7-S15.